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Title: Laser-fusion rocket for interplanetary propulsion

A rocket powered by fusion microexplosions is well suited for quick interplanetary travel. Fusion pellets are sequentially injected into a magnetic thrust chamber. There, focused energy from a fusion Driver is used to implode and ignite them. Upon exploding, the plasma debris expands into the surrounding magnetic field and is redirected by it, producing thrust. This paper discusses the desired features and operation of the fusion pellet, its Driver, and magnetic thrust chamber. A rocket design is presented which uses slightly tritium-enriched deuterium as the fusion fuel, a high temperature KrF laser as the Driver, and a thrust chamber consisting of a single superconducting current loop protected from the pellet by a radiation shield. This rocket can be operated with a power-to-mass ratio of 110 W gm/sup -1/, which permits missions ranging from occasional 9 day VIP service to Mars, to routine 1 year, 1500 ton, Plutonian cargo runs.
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5619090
Report Number(s):
UCRL-88857; CONF-8310171-1
ON: DE84001238
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 34. International Astronautical Federation conference, Budapest, Hungary, 10 Oct 1983; Other Information: Portions are illegible in microfiche products
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ROCKETS; PROPULSION; DESIGN; DEUTERIUM; LASER IMPLOSIONS; LASER TARGETS; THERMONUCLEAR FUELS; TRITIUM; BETA DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; BETA-MINUS DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; FUELS; HYDROGEN ISOTOPES; IMPLOSIONS; ISOTOPES; LIGHT NUCLEI; NUCLEI; ODD-EVEN NUCLEI; ODD-ODD NUCLEI; RADIOISOTOPES; STABLE ISOTOPES; TARGETS; YEARS LIVING RADIOISOTOPES 700208* -- Fusion Power Plant Technology-- Inertial Confinement Technology